A brand new spotlight concept has emerged for WARM. Please welcome “Hot Talks” - a series of customer spotlights, shining a light on our dear users. For this second instalment, we had the pleasure to connect with Lucy Michael, Promotions and Content Manager at Tru Thoughts - an independent record label based in Brighton, on the south coast of England, set up by Robert Luis and Paul Jonas. She's taking us through her own background coming into Tru Thoughts, her own role at the company and future predictions for the label. Welcome, Lucy.
A CHAT WITH LUCY MICHAEL FROM TRU THOUGHTS RECORDS
1. Hi Lucy, lovely to have you with us. First of all, what’s your own background coming into the music industry?
I always loved music and started making beats from a young age, I then studied Music Production at college where we covered some basics of music business. The course made me want to get more involved in the industry and I started working as an events manager for a venue before eventually settling in Brighton and beginning an Internship in Press and Radio at Tru Thoughts, where I now work full-time. I've worked with different companies, from concert promoters, management agencies and sync companies and have loved them all, but working for an independent record label takes the biscuit. Now I volunteer with a local station as a producer and host a show from time to time.
2. What was it that first made you decide to start at Tru Thoughts label?
The roster is so eclectic, like my own taste and the idea of working a Broken Beat release one day and a Soul record the next is really exciting to me. Seeing how many artists I loved being supported by Tru Thoughts made it feel like a second home. It was also seeing that they weren't afraid to support an artist in the very early stages of their career because they believed in the music.
3. What is your role at Tru Thoughts label?
Promotions and Content Manager. Although, my role is quite flexible depending on what the team and different releases require of me. Because the company is on the smaller side (11 employers), each role is very dynamic.
4. How do you feel the music industry has changed since you joined Tru Thoughts label?
The price of producing vinyl has increased significantly. It makes it particularly hard for independent labels, especially if we're working with developing artists. Doing smaller runs of vinyl in particular has become a lot more difficult.
On a positive note, seeing the culture that has developed around streaming sets and radio stations is beautiful. There are now so many places I can go to discover great artists, DJ's or tastemakers curating music.
5. Has the pandemic in any way changed how you’re doing your job today?
I started interning with Tru Thoughts during the pandemic. Although I didn't get to work at Tru Thoughts pre-pandemic, I know that the hybrid working I'm so used to now came about over that time.
6. What are some of the challenges and benefits you are facing as a label these days?
The accessibility of data these days is incredible. I can cross reference data from WARM, Chartmetric, Spotify for Artists, Social Media etc and put together a full picture of how a release is being received. Having that data is so helpful when it comes to making decisions like putting a release on vinyl.
A challenge could be the speed which some things are moving, social media platforms for example seem to be ever-developing and changing. It can be a lot to keep up with and it's important to stay informed so that we can share up-to-date 'best practices' with artists. But there might be a new platform tomorrow!
7. What’s your advice for anyone wanting to build their own record label?
I would say get talking to people. I learn so much from talking to my colleagues in depth about different processes and why we do them. Where I can I'll try and help out outside of my role to understand how everything fits together.
8. And lastly, what does the rest of 2023 look like for the label?
Exciting! We have lots in the works. For those who are fans of Moonchild we've had some acoustic versions out this year and there are more announcements to come on socials soon. We've recently signed two incredible artists called Sandunes and Call Sender, who will be releasing albums later this year. Steven Bamidele will be dropping his long-awaited electronic soul album 'Summing Up' in September. The Sindecut & Ijeoma, UK hip-hop pioneers, will be bringing us their album on a one-off vinyl press.
As with every year, we're also adding to our compilation series with 'Shapes: Collide', compiled by label head Robert Luis. And there's even more that I can't share right now, but stay posted!